Life-saving equipment is believed to have been stolen from a building in Burgess Hill in what has been described as a ‘soul destroying’ crime.
A defibrillator - treatment for cardiac arrest - bought and installed at Burgess Hill Theatre, in Church Walk, by the local District Lions club just six weeks ago, was removed on Saturday night (October 3).
Tony Parris, secretary of the Lions club, said he believed the equipment was stolen and the equipment will cost £850 to replace.
He said: “It’s soul destroying. It makes you wonder, is it worth it?
“What sort of mentality would a person have to have to steal that?
“I was told by the First Responders who were just as upset as we were as we work very closely with each other.
“At the end of the day, it’s public money being stolen because we raised the money from the public.”
Christine Coxshaw, line president, said: “An unbelievable act and thoughtlessness on behalf of the thieves. I just hope that this vital lifesaving equipment is not needed in the immediate future to save a life in our local community.”
Mr Parris said if the person returns the defibrillator to the Book Den, in Church Walk anonymously within the next seven days, no further action will be taken.
“We’ve been putting them into communities since 2007 and the number of those so far installed is up into the twenties and we’ve never had this problem.”
Defibrillators work by administering a high energy electric shock to the heart to regain a stable rhythm.
Sussex Police said: “It is believed that the unit was removed between Saturday afternoon and 9am on Sunday (October 4). “Enquiries are in hand to check whether the unit may have been removed for a genuine purpose as no damage was caused to its enclosure, but anyone with information is asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 101 quoting serial 610 of 04/04.”